BG Donald Bolduc at the 2019 Dean College Executive Lecture Series

Dean College welcomed Brigadier General Donald C. Bolduc, US Army (Retired) and Former Commander, Special Operations Command-Africa, to campus on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, for the 14th Annual Dean College Leadership Institute Executive Lecture Series.

BG Bolduc, Dean College Class of 1986, retired in 2017 after 32 years of active duty service to his country in which he received two awards for valor, five Bronze Star medals, two Purple Hearts, led ten deployments and survived a bomb blast, numerous fire fights and a helicopter crash.

BG Bolduc now advocates for veterans and their families, the treatment and shedding the stigma of PTS, TBI, pain management, sleep disorders and neurotoxicity both from within the US military as well as the general public. He also has a passion for teaching, coaching and mentoring leadership from entry level to the senior executive level.

Dean College President Dr. Paula Rooney introduced BG Bolduc, who could be found shaking hands with the crowd comprised of students, faculty and staff, and the community.

BG Donald Bolduc engaging crowd during the executive lecture series

“I like to begin my presentations with a handshake,” said BG Bolduc.

He was accompanied by his service dog, Victor, who casually walked up and down the aisles throughout the presentation.

Victor the service dog

BG Bolduc emphasized the name of his presentation, Truth to Power, explaining that the most effective leaders tell the truth.

“I am an imperfect leader. I have made every leadership mistake in the book, and I thought that admitting my mistakes was a weakness,” said BG Bolduc. “Be self-aware. Know your weakness; work on your weakness, not your strength.”

BG Bolduc spoke about the importance of educating yourself in leadership and understanding what to ask yourself in order to become an effective leader.

“Understanding your ‘WHY’, your reason for doing what you do, is hugely important.”

BG Bolduc took to the stage to show the audience a series of figurines with nameplates.

“My ‘WHY’ is dedicated to the men and women (listed on the nameplates) that I did not bring home from combat.”

He encouraged students to tell the truth because truth leads to change. A good leader is not afraid to ask for help, he added.

 “When you ask for help you are strong,” he repeated, “You are strong.”

During the Q&A portion of the program, one student asked, “What has been your biggest inspiration.” Without hesitation, BG Bolduc walked to the front row of the audience and asked his wife to stand up.

“I always ask myself ‘What would my wife do’. She is my inspiration.”

student q&a at the executive lecture series

Another student asked, “What are you most proud of?” To which BG Bolduc answered, “I am most proud of watching the men and women who work for me get promoted. To see and witness the success of those around you is hugely important. Be glad for them.”

Following the presentation, BG Bolduc was presented with Dean’s Outstanding Alumni Award, which is presented in recognition of significant public achievement in business, athletics, science, military service, government, education or the arts. 

With over 32 years of service to the United States Military, the award was fitting.

Featuring multiple presentations throughout each semester, the Executive Lecture series and Leadership in Action series offers Dean College students an exclusive opportunity to hear from and interact with regional business leaders to learn more about what made them successful and gain valuable insights and contacts to help them launch their own careers.

Learn more about the Dean Leadership Institute

Update: 60 Minutes recently aired a segment about PTSD which included portions of BG Bolduc's speech at the Dean College Leadership Institute Executive Lecture. View the segment: 60 Minutes SGB: A Possible Breakthrough Treatment for PTSD.